Hindsight is 20/20 – squinting – pt. 3

~Don’t seek healing at the feet of those who broke you.

I can’t remember who wrote this, but it really resonated with me this week.

I even wrote it on my desk calendar, so I could look at it every day, and remind myself of those words, practice the mantra, so to speak.

I need to stop kneeling at the feet of those who have hurt me in the past, seeking resolution, consolation, closure, or healing.

I do it way too often.

You see, I used to be the one doing the breaking, so when I crashed at the end, and had to change the way I did things, I really did change.

Except, sometimes, I go too far the other direction.

I’ve had many people tell me I’m too nice, too forgiving.

But – I’m getting ahead of my own story, here.

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that the summer of 1990 was just a slow roll towards suicide on my part.

It wasn’t.

I had a blast getting into as much trouble as humanly possible, in the short amount of time I had, and in the limited ways I could. (as in, no drugs, no extreme sports – cause HELLO, I SUCK AT SPORTS)

But – it WAS a spiral headed south, and straight into a wall. Somewhere in the back of my primitive id brain I knew this. I wasn’t stupid. I couldn’t see a future for myself, and I was, oddly… wanting to tromp down harder on the gas pedal, for some reason. Get there faster, & you waste less gas?

Well, my parents weren’t having it.

They clamped down on me, & told me to either “find a job, or you’re headed for the military”.

Yep. No shit.

So – I hit the papers, and found want ads – for nannies. People in other states wanted nannies from North Dakota to fly to their homes to take care of their kids, because they thought ND kids made better nannies, for some reasons. And I – wanted the fuck out. Out of North Dakota. Out of my current life, out from under my parents’ rules, you know… Typical young self-destructive type behavior.

Fast forward a few phone calls, and I’d found a family in New Jersey, who had 2 kids, both adopted, and they wanted me right away.

Off I went.

Everyone has baggage.

But Delta had no idea I had TWO carry-ons with me instead of just the one they saw.

You see, I’d been a horrible girlfriend to the boyfriend I fell for…

And I’d run around and used sex to feel good about myself.

I’d thought I was just malnourished, from not eating well, smoking & drinking a lot over the summer, subsisting on sunflower seeds & beef jerky most of the time.

I didn’t realize I had a growing reason for missing my period.

Until the morning I puked for no reason.

Well, there was a reason, I just didn’t want to know it, or admit it, really.

Shit.

*sigh*

On my day off, I ran an errand to the drug store & bought myself a stick test to pee on.

Damn thing practically turned blue in my hand before I got it open.

Hell.

So, on my next day off… I went down to the local women’s free clinic & got tested there. Positive again.

And a courtesy “talk” with a counselor, who gently went through all my options with me, asking me delicately if I was… Possibly…maybe…could I be…considering…abor.. ??

“NO.” I was most emphatic, and a huge, truck-load sized weight seemed to lift from the counselor’s shoulders.

“Oh, thank goodness!”, she was so relieved, I thought she was going to hug me, which would have been awkward, and extremely uncomfortable for us both, I think.

Then, she wanted to discuss adoption, & I shut her down on that, too.

Nope.

I thanked her politely, and told her that, in no uncertain terms, I was going home, I was going to have my baby, and I was going to raise it myself.

This was mine, and no one was taking it from me.

It was time to fucking grow up.

My baby needed me. And needed me to be an ADULT. I was going to be a mommy, and I’d be damned if anyone was taking that from me.

Now, I needed to figure out how to do that.

I wasn’t even old enough to drink legally, yet.

But I was damned well going to figure this out.

For once, it wasn’t about what I needed.

It was about what someone else needed from me. Someone who didn’t have anyone else, and needed me first, most, and who I could love without reservations or limits or embarrassment. I could give this baby everything I was, and it wouldn’t betray me, because I would be its mommy.

This baby was going to love me, because I was going to love him or her so hard, there’d be no reason not to.

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Hindsight is 20/20 – maybe

Looking backward…

In order to work on myself, I’ve been doing some hardcore soul-searching, and past-life regression.

As in, taking a long, hard, look at who I really was when I was younger…warts and all.

I’m not going to sugar-coat any-damn-thing, or try to rationalize bad behaviors for myself.

If I’m truly going to make any progress with figuring out how I ended up where I am today, & how I can move forward in a healthier way…

I need to get out of my own fucking way.

Because what I’ve been doing up until now?

Not healthy.

I know this.

I just don’t know, yet, how to fucking change it.

I know what results I want to see…

I just don’t think I’ll ever get there.

And that makes me even more depressed.

******

Deep breath

******

I – grew up fairly sheltered, as a kid. I was a nerd, didn’t play sports – was horribly bad at them, in fact, unless they happened from the back of a horse.

I was shy, and teased and bullied throughout my school years until I graduated high school.

Except when I was around my best friend, who I trusted. Then, I was outgoing, funny, sarcastic & able to open up. She saw a whole different side of me than everyone else, including my creative side, & encouraged me to express it.

In college, which only lasted about a year and a half (I shouldn’t have gone, I really wasn’t ready & wasted so much time & money there), I truly changed.

I had, by this time, lost my virginity, after throwing it away on my one and only high school boyfriend. (Who lasted about 2 months, until after his prom…no joke. But then, I had decided my virginity was mostly a hindrance, anyway, & used him to “get rid” of it… Not because I was in love. *snort*)

At this point, I wasn’t thinking about what had happened to me when I was 16. I wasn’t flashing back to being molested… Although, I’ve never slept on my stomach since that night.

Not once. Not ever.

But, I was using sex as a weapon. Of sorts, anyway.

I used it to feel good about myself.

Because if a guy wanted to have sex with me, that meant I was desirable, right?

That meant I had worth, right?

I meant something, even if it was only for a little while…

It made me feel powerful…in the moment.

Until afterwards.

Until I felt cheap.

When I was just ignored the next day, if I was even remembered.

But hey, I was a badass, right?

I stomped through the parties with my smartass, snarky mouth, my nickname “Dragon Lady” more because my words could burn people down than because I smoked. I gave no shits…

At least where they could see.

But…

God, did I care.

I burned through a handful of “boyfriends” in college, short-timers, because I would inevitably be a bitch at some point to them, & they’d wander off in search of calmer waters.

I never cheated, don’t get me wrong.

But, I’d drive them off, usually finding that one pet peeve, guaranteed to piss them right the hell off, and pick at that until they’d had just ENOUGH.

Done and dusted, I would be vindicated once again, knowing that I wasn’t worth the trouble. No one was really willing to chase me down & stick with me.

I just wasn’t worth it.

Not for anyone.

After all…when I was molested, even my parents didn’t believe me. They couldn’t even be concerned enough to come get me, instead having family members bounce me from one house to another for almost 2 weeks, before I finally reached home, after the “incident”. And then, it was never mentioned again.

Not until the summer after I quit college.

The summer of my complete abandon, my downward spiral, and their accusations of drug abuse & attempt at throwing me into therapy.

But – that’s for the next post.

I’m tapped.

Going Back…

This weekend I’m taking a little trip down memory lane. Just a small jaunt, mind you.

You see…

My high school is having their 100-year anniversary this weekend, so it’s supposed to be some kind of big blowout weekend all-school reunion.

(Blink too long driving down the highway, and you’ve missed it…I don’t think it’s a whole lot bigger than this photo above suggests)

I’m not going to make a weekend out of it, but I am going to stop in and take a gander at a couple of things that interest me.

First and foremost… There is going to be a gentleman there who wrote an autobiography about his life, part of which took place in my hometown, so he’s going to be signing books at the city hall for part of the time. He used my blog post about Dr. Hordinsky in his book, so I’d like to meet him, face to face, and shake his hand. Talk to him a little & let him know that I did actually read his book and enjoyed it, even the stuff I didn’t write!

I’d also like to stop in at the school & see the shadow box my dad built that now houses one of my sculptures. He asked me to make him a sculpture of Horton the Elephant to go with a copy of the Dr. Seuss book, Horton Hatches an Egg, which has the name of my hometown in it. 

Here’s the sculpture, but I’d like a picture of the finished product!

So, this shindig kicks off on Friday…but, that’s the busiest day of the month for my business, & we’re going to swamped that day, so there’s zero chance of getting that day off. Plus, by the time I get off work…I’m going to be completely brain-fried…

So, I’m going down on Saturday. I figure that’ll give me time to see what I want to see, do what I want to do, and skedaddle out of there before any shenanigans get too crazy. 

…I…don’t have a lot of really fond memories from high school. It was pretty much hell for me there, and I escaped to other towns as often as possible…so, it’s not like this is abnormal behavior to me.

I’ll be in and out like lightning…maybe a couple small scorch marks left behind…no big…

So if Sunday’s paper reads “Lightning Strikes Small Town North Dakota”… 

It wasn’t me…I was home all night…I swear…just ask the cat…

Fearless #FamChallenge

Beloved Nephew and I are doing a writing challenge for a little while, to get the creative forces moving. This is my first installment.

*******************†********************

I’ve found myself wishing lately that I could live my life fearlessly, as I used to be able to…

To not have to worry about things constantly, to feel the constriction of anxiety wrapping itself around my chest and throat.

To be able to simply get up and go when I want to, where I want to, without fretting about how I’m going to get there, is it going to be crowded and dangerous, will I get lost, what if something does happen, then what?

I used to be able to live like that.

I sit here, shaking my head and ruefully laughing under my breath, remembering how crazy it seems now…

On a whim, I would pack up my daughters, toss overnight bags in my car, and we would drive 12 hours to Iowa.

Yes, on a whim.

We would make pit stops at the various “scenic stops” along the way, play, take pictures, get out of the car for a few minutes, chase each other around like hooligans…then back into the car, and down the road we’d go.

We always stayed with family at the other end, even if it was on a couch, or in a sleeping bag on the floor, but it didn’t matter to me, or to the girls, we all loved the away time, & getting to see Gramma, the aunts, uncles & cousins.

Visiting, I called it.

Escaping…is a little more accurate.

Luckily, gas was much cheaper back then, & my girls were happy little travelers, loving our “road trips”.  They ate healthy food from relatives with as much gusto as the junk food from gas stations. And would help clean up any mess they made with our stay before we left again.

Irresponsible, some would call it.

Free-spirited, others would say.

Young…is the terminology I use.

But, I’m not so young, anymore.

Still… I live alone now… And my weekends belong to just me once again. 

Maybe I need to “plan” a Fearless Weekend… And get the Hell out of Dodge.

Get in my pickup, pack an overnight bag, and drive…somewhere…other than here.

Hmm…

*wanders off humming to self and grinning from ear to ear*

Empty the Nest?

How long do I tend the nest for a child who has already flown?

Here I sit, feeling like the worst mother in the world, right now. Tears pooling in my eyes as I type this, because I told OnlySon that I am planning on leaving North Dakota in a year, and he’s angry, albeit trying not to show it. 

He wants everything to remain the same forever, but that can’t happen. Life stagnates if left to sit too long with no forward motion.

And I have been sitting still for many years now, waiting for something to change.

I’m not happy here, anymore.

Too many heartaches and heartbreaks.

Not enough reasons to look forward to getting out of bed every morning.

So, why should I stay?

For a son who has moved in with his father & is now going to be starting a new life of his own, getting a job, being busy with that & dropping by when he needs a shower or to pick up something else I’m storing in my basement or his bedroom?

For a job, which, yes, I enjoy my work – but, let’s face facts, isn’t a life?

Let’s see… Hmm…

What else does North Dakota have to offer me?

Two ex- husbands, one within city limits, and the other an hour away… No, that’s OK.

I’ll pass.

No one has been able to come up with a compelling, or even logical, reason why I should stay beyond my timeline.

I can’t live for my children’s benefit forever. There comes a time when they have to spread their own wings and leave the nest.

This is the way of life.

Why should I stay?

Tell me. When I feel as though there’s nothing left here for me…

Why?

Vintage Poetry #2

After dealing with a migraine today, it’s time for me to pass on some of the love.

Cue the old poetry…

Mirror Image 

You sit there

Talking to me

But I don’t hear what

You’re saying

I’m looking 

In your eyes

Seeing my own pain

Reflected there

You’re telling me

Something about

How you never promised me

A rose garden

I never

Asked for one

All I wanted

Was that you

Be honest

With me

Tell me what

You feel

I’ll understand

I

Won’t break

I promise.

*funny how present life seems to imitate the past, ain’t it?*

One Tear for Me

Just cry one tear for me

Then I’ll be on my way

Please tell me that you loved me

At least you did one day

It matters to me now

What you have to say

Even if it won’t

When I am old and gray

I could have loved you deeply

But you just walked away

Before I had a chance

To say what I had to say

So just cry one tear for me

My love

Then I’ll be on my way.

-4/8/87

*damnedest thing, how these still sound so familiar*

Mannequins

Here I stand

At the window

Looking in.

My hands pressed against

The glass

My breath making fog

On its surface.

Let me in, I say

I tap on the glass

But they don’t see

Or hear

Their backs are turned

And then, so is mine

I turn and see her

Standing there

With her hands pressed

Against the glass

As mine had been

I know that I

Am no longer alone.

We back away from the window

“They’re only mannequins”

She says

I noticed that too

We walk away together

Knowing that they are only

Window dressing

While we have the whole world

To ourselves.

-4/14/89

*this was for my best friend, who showed me how much bigger the world was, when all I saw was a small town*

*and here’s the last one I plan to publish here, as this has reminded me why I haven’t posted these before…*

Think of Me

Every time you see a happy child

Think of me

When you see something free and wild

Think of me

When you read a story

With a happy end

Or get a letter from

Your best friend

See my smiling face

Happy for you

Think of me.

When you’re lost and alone

And you want to go home

Think of me

If you’re sad or you’re blue

Know I’m thinking of you

When you see the sun come out…

Think of me.

-1/30/89

Fini

Things We Leave Behind

Remember when we all used to do the “beach drive”? Slow cruising, windows down, sunglasses on, music playing, so you could see, and be seen?  

The sun baking down on the grass of the hill, cars lined up, one after another, all the way back to the street they went. Up the hill, down the hill, around the curve, and back up. Yell at your friends, honk your horn, nod your head, or lift your index finger off the steering wheel to show you saw them, but were “too cool and laid back” to do a full wave.

Laughing at the antics of boaters & water skiers out on the water, ripping down the river, smashing into each other’s wakes, or lazily hanging over the edges of the boat, waiting for a beer, or a tan, or a fish. Or just waiting for the sun to bake off a hangover.

Remember that summer?

When main street was faster to walk down than it was to drive? When everyone was there…at least until the party place was decided.  Antelope Lake, The Point, Erickson’s, The Academy, places I would never be able to find in daylight, I could find in the dark…with a decent car, a cooler of beer, music to drive to, and the best friends to hang out with.

Walking on a beach in a miniskirt & high heels is never easy, you know, especially when drinking.

Oh, for a week, that I could go back to that summer…just to visit, to laugh like that again, so carefree and unfettered. To not have to think first, before I speak, to truly revel in every moment, as we did. To be that wild child that I was, again, just for a little while. 

How relaxing that would be.

Just for a week.

Because the beach is empty, now. No longer is main street the slow, languid crawl on Friday night, no longer are there dozens of cars, & dozens of dozens of people littering and loitering on the beach on Saturday, swimming, skiing, boating, baking, recovering & resting up for Saturday night’s raucous revving up.

Because I’m too old, now, for that kind of freedom. I’m a “responsible mature adult”, with a life built up from tearing down that girl.

The girl who laughed at everything.

The girl who fought when pushed.

The girl who loved hard, played hard, and ran hard.

She lives there still, that girl, on those beaches, dancing ’round those bonfires, running down those old, now quiet, streets.  She’s just a ghost, a shade, a shadow, but she’s there.  Footsteps etched into each piece of pavement, handprints along the walls of the shops lining main, laughter dancing through the trees, and in the lap of the waves at the river.

I left her behind- baking off her last, summer hangover.

Remember?